“Call me Ishmael.” “All this happened, more or less.” Every novel starts with a first line. And most of us need a swift kick in the pants to write that first line. NaNoWriMo has the answer.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts every November 1 at 12:00:01 and ends on November 30 at 11:59:59. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month.

According to the NaNoWriMo site: “the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.” Not a bad approach — especially if you’re the type to tweet about how you can’t think of anything, rather than actually write something down.

In its first year in 1999, NaNoWriMo started off in the SF Bay Area with only 21 participants. Last year there were over 200,000 registered participants (it costs nothing to register) and more than 30,000 hit the word count goal by November 30.

Once you register you can post excerpts of your novel, update your word count for others to see, and read some writerly advice. Everyone who submits a novel of the correct length between Nov 25-30 gets recognition on the Winners’ Page — doesn’t matter if your story is more Stephanie Meyer than Saul Bellow.

It’s already November 2, so get on it. Click here to register. Then tell everyone in the coffeeshop that you’re a writer.